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Message blamed for wagon train's absence

August 18, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - The National Pike Festival wagon train did not spend a night in Funkstown this year because of a phone message the event's coordinator said steered her away from the town.

Laura Bowman, chairwoman of the National Pike Festival and president of the James Shaull Wagon Train Foundation, met with the Funkstown mayor and Town Council Monday to discuss why the wagon train did not stay in Funkstown as planned during the May festival.

She said Washington County's portion of this year's National Pike Festival changed on the afternoon of the event.

The wagon trains usually spend a night in Funkstown. Bowman said this year, however, another person associated with the wagon train received a voice-mail message from a caller identifying herself as Funkstown Clerk Brenda Haynes. The caller said the wagon train was "not to come" into Funkstown's park, Bowman said.

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Bowman said town residents have complained in the past about the smell of horse manure. She also said she thought the wagons would tear up land in the park over the "very soggy weekend."

Haynes said she didn't remember leaving that message and does not work on Saturdays.

"Well, I don't know who told Brenda, but I didn't," Mayor Robert L. Kline said.

Haynes said she's talked to the man who said he received the message several times since the wagon train bypassed the town.

"He told me it was because he wasn't on the committee and they had no one to clean the manure up," she said.

Bowman said that wasn't true.

"Somebody should have called the mayor," Town Council member Kim Ramer said.

Other council members said Kline is the only one who makes such calls and normally polls the council about such decisions.

"It perturbs me that we lost out on something that people look forward to," Town Council member John Phillips said.

Bowman said Funkstown also will lose out on the wagon train in 2005. She said she's already made plans to stay in the area where the wagons stayed this year.

"I had to do what I thought was the best decision at the time," she said.

Phillips said he would like Bowman to consider having the wagon train stop in the town in 2005 and 2006.

Bowman asked the mayor and town council to consider having vendors for the wagon train's visit to make the town more appealing.

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